Feeling Stuck? Bogged Down? Need some Inspiration? Read on...

The last couple of days I have been thinking about what I would post this week! Personally, it's been a rather stressful week with one thing and another and nothing was coming to me... it was as if I had put my thinking cap somewhere and I'd be darned if I could find it.

I think most of us experience this from time to time and it can be very frustrating to say the least. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's finding a subject for a blog post, solving a problem, writing a story or inspiration for a new art piece. The more I try to get unstuck, the more stuck I get!

Our Oh So Serious Lives

Ever notice how bogged down you can get in work, worry, home chores,routine, paperwork, and/or "other people's agendas"? Personal, family, employment and community stressors can influence our lives so much that our "SELVES" seem to get lost in the "card shuffle" of everyday life.

Life becomes "serious" and we "should" all over ourselves... "I should but...(fill in the blank)" becomes our mantra. One day feels like the next as we start going through the motions. Our senses dull. We start snapping at the dog or uttering uncharitable words at the drivers on the freeway!

So what can we do when we find ourselves stuck in this quagmire? How can we pull ourselves out of the "muck" and recapture the excitement, surprise, wonder and serendipity that brightens our days and feeds our soul?

One word: PLAY

Excuses, Excuses

Now I am sure, like me, you could find a gazillion tried, true, familiar reasons why you might scoff at that idea. I don't need to write them down here for you. You know what they are! You might even be saying my favourite one to yourself right now "I don't have time. I've gotta get this (or that) done!"

Enough is enough!

When I sat down to write today (and nothing was coming to me), I knew that I was buying my own B.S. (basic storyline). No way I had time to play. Are you kidding? I had to get this done. No time for fooling around. BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! As I listened to myself conjure up every excuse in the book, I started to laugh. I was "wasting" time thinking up excuses. Now how silly is that? I heard my little self say to my big SELF: "Enough is enough." It was time to play.

I fired up my Internet browser. Scrolled down to the "Toybox" bookmark. A list of "web toys" appeared.

Blog Post Idea Generator - I just recently found this lovely little app by chance. I clicked on it and chuckled when I read: "Suggest ten free resources that your readers would benefit from". “Okay... that’s easy! “ I said to my SELF, “I’ll share my list of “break out” toys.” Try this one the next time you can't think of what to write about on your blog. It works!!!
Update:  This site is no longer there.  Try this site, Content Idea Generator instead.

One Word – One word writing prompts. This definitely can get you past writer’s block. One word with sixty seconds to write about it without thinking. A “just do it” app with a timer! You can even email what you wrote to yourself in those 60 seconds.

Imagination Prompt – Similar to the Blog Post Idea Generator, I really like this little app with it’s interesting prompts. “If your tears could speak to you, what would they say?” WHEW! I think I'll leave that one for some other time....

ShapeCollage - This is a fun toy! It takes photos or images on your computer and makes them into all sorts of different shapes. You will need to download it and install it on your computer. Only takes a few minutes to start having fun with your photos. 

Picture Prompt – This one can get me going when I need some “art” inspiration. Great for those of us who need visual stimulation to break through our “stuckness”. There’s a new one every day for you to have some fun with.

Scribbler Tool – Go doodle with this one or just mess around and see what comes up. You can use your mouse or a drawing tablet… and even upload something you are currently working on.

Colour Lovers – I love messing around on this site. I could spend hours here just playing with colour and patterns. It’s pretty simple. All you have to do is choose a colour, create a palette and design a new pattern. Try it! A word from the wise: Make sure you have a timer handy or an hour spent on this site might feel like it was only 10 minutes.

Kuler – from Adobe. If you like creating colour palettes, this is the site for you. Immerse yourself in colour and come up with some nifty combinations here to use in your next art drawing or digital collage.

Oblique Strategies – This is the web version of a deck of cards meant to inspire. The idea behind Oblique Strategies is that when we’re working hard or under stress, the pressure tends to push us away from the type of creative, productive thinking that we’re capable of when the pressure’s off.

Ideally you choose a card from the deck and as you read it, it breaks the deadlock to help your creative juices to start flowing again. Many of the strategies were designed with music in mind (it was developed by Brian Eno, a musician and his friend Peter Schmidt, a painter) so if the card prompt you draw doesn’t work for you, just choose another one.

I laughed to myself when I drew "Plug in your earphones!"

What a good idea... I picked up my IPod and listened to some of my favourite music for about 10 minutes. It picked my spirits up in no time!

Rum & Monkey – Lots of silly, fun “timewasters” (their words) to bring a smile to your face and get you unstuck and moving in a different direction. Little Tests to find out who you and some fun little toys to play with.
Update:  Unfortunately this site is no longer there but here's another one that you might enjoy: Brain Teasers

Well that’s ten but here’s another one, ‘cause I’m on a roll …LOL

Bomomo – A fun art generator. Hold down your left mouse button and try out all the different drawing buttons! Fun and colourful....

So there you have it! The next time you are feeling bogged down, need a break from monotony, want some inspiration or just want to play, you can reference this list. You'll be back on top of your game again in no time at all.

Have a fun and inspiring week…and remember to play!


P.S. WOW I am feeling energized and ready to roar now. I found my thinking cap again. WHEW! That's a relief (smile).